Object Lessons: Backdoor Roth Edition

It’s official: Congress is aware of (and seemingly okay with?) Backdoor Roth IRA contributions. I’ve been conservative and avoided Backdoor Roth contributions because of the step transaction doctrine. Now I can make this work if I roll my Traditional IRA into my 401k. This will take some doing and may not be worth it if I am leaving my job soon. That said, I think I should probably try to manage it, especially if I can swing a Mega Backdoor Roth contribution on my way out the door.

In case you missed it, the stock market has been pretty wacky the past week. I’m a buy and hold person– I learned that one the hard way– but single day 1500-point drops don’t happen all too often and it caught my attention. TIL: there is an ETF that tracks volatility (VIX) and a twin ETF that inversely tracks volatility (XIV). Whatever finance wizardry makes this possible also helped this guy lose $4 million in a day, including $1.5 million of raised capital. Ouch.

Digital linguistics run head on into our legal system: interpreting emoticons to determine intent. Also, apparently some judge in Israel decided that emojis constitute a binding written agreement?

Physician on Fire’s story about getting sued for volunteering on the board at his former small community hospital is e-x-a-c-t-l-y the reason I don’t advertise my net worth in $’s on this blog. The more people think you have, the more likely they are to hack you, sue you, or otherwise put a target on your back for money. I feel sad and paranoid writing that, but I really think it’s true.

I found this article in Nature fascinating. “Biological sex” in humans is so much more complicated than just X and Y chromosomes.

From FastCompany: Beyond Survival Kits: Humanitarian Aid Is Going Wireless, Communal, And Autonomous. I really like the idea of Citizenship Kits for quick distribution of temporary relief and aid:

The framework for dynamic national mobility (DyNaMo) builds on the precedent and practice of successful long-term e-residency programs developed by Estonia in the 2010s. It allows displaced individuals to gain digital-legal “citizenship”–though not necessarily rights to physical residency. The Kit places between 2,000 and 50,000 people into a pool for temporary legal “citizenships” and provides a means of extending local legal and welfare systems for up to 120 days to those displaced from countries under meaningful threat from war, genocide or non-voluntary resettlement due to a natural disaster or other significant cause.

Early Retirement Extreme put together this table designating the “Wheaton levels of personal finance.” I fall at completely different levels depending on which attribute you consider, but in general I think I’m somewhere around Level 5 or “Optimization.” My savings rate is high, I prioritize expenses based on my values, and I like to, uh, optimize. What level are you? 

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